On October 16th, approximately 60 ULI members gathered in the rooftop conference center at 1000 Maine Avenue to experience the outstanding views of the sky, river, and development at The Wharf. Key project executives who were instrumental in bringing this world-class waterfront destination to life spoke to the assembled group about the history of the site, the development of the project, and what is going to happen in Phase 2. Speakers included:
Shawn Seaman – EVP and Principal, Hoffman & Associates
Dan McCahan– EVP and Managing Principal, Development Madison Marquette
Stan Eckstut – Founding Principal, Perkins Eastman
Neil Albert– Executive Director and President, Downtown Bid (formerly City Administrator and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development)
Liz Price– Director of Public Private Partnerships, Hoffman & Associates (Moderator)
The city-owned site is being developed under a 99-year ground lease with the District by Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, a joint venture between Hoffman & Associates and Madison Marquette as well as ER Bacon Development, City Partners, Paramount Development and Triden Development.
Southwest Waterfront Development Timeline
In 1805, the area where the Wharf now stands was a thriving port and Fish Market. In 1931, the Southwest Waterfront, the area began to decline because it had little residential investment and was not connected to the City’s fabric despite being in the shadow of the National Capital and the Mall. In the 1950s the area was the subject of the first federally funded Urban Renewal project in US history. There were disagreements about how the area should develop and ultimately it was completed with little connection between the land and the water.
By 2000, it was clear that action needed to be taken to reinvigorate the area. In 2000, the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative was launched and by 2003, a small area plan for the area was completed. In 2004, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation was created and by 2006, a RFEI was issued for waterfront redevelopment. PN Hoffman and Streuver Brothers, a Baltimore developer, were selected to create and implement development plans for the site. Streuver was unable to continue in the deal and a new JV partner was found in Madison Marquette. In 2013, a PUD for the project was approved and construction started in 2014. The grand opening for the first phase of the project took place in 2017. The entire development opened at the same time, creating an instant “place” for the waterfront.
Phase 1 includes 219 condos, 649 apartments (200 affordable/workforce), 690 hotel rooms, 498,000 SF office, 200,000 SF retail space and a 6,000-person concert hall. There are 10 acres of public space and 1,500 parking spaces. The Wharf includes 27 acres of land, 50 acres of water, 3.3 M square feet total and a $2.5B investment. There was one master planner, 20 architects and 3 contractors involved in the project.
There are multiple Sustainability components in Phase I. The entire development is LEED ND Gold and all of the buildings are LEED ND Gold or Silver, plus the development is 18” above the floodplain. There is a 250-kW co-gen plant on site. The stormwater management system captures 3.2 storm onsite and 1/3 of the site is permeable (as opposed to 10 percent previously). There are numerous green roofs and cisterns on site that collect 11 million gallons of water per year that is used in landscaping, restrooms and a cooling tower.
Public – Private Cooperation
The project required eight DC City Council votes, four acts of Congress, more than 800 community meetings over 10 years, and the largest tax increment financing (TIF) in the city’s history ($198 M). The Wharf also met the District’s affordable housing, local hiring and contracting requirements, including 30 percent of apartments affordable at 30/60/100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) and is expected to generate over $70 M in new taxes annually.
The public sector goals were to have active public spaces, abundant and diverse retail, affordable housing, local development and contracting participation, workforce development, sustainable design and substantial tax revenue.
The groundbreaking for Phase 2 was in 2019 and the opening is scheduled for 2022. Total in phase 2 will be 1.2 million square feet and will include 131 hotel keys, 235 apartments with 30% affordability, 96 condos, 575,000 SF office, and 95,000 SF of retail. There will be a 250 slip Wharf Marina, 4+ acres of public space and 1,100 parking spaces in this phase.